Today I would like to take you to Galapagos Islands. I want to share with you some of the important things from my field research on these islands. I boarded a plane in Quito, Ecuador and landed on Isla Baltra, one of the islands in Galapagos Archipelago. I walked into the terminal, got my luggage checked and boarded a bus. This bus took me to a ferry station. After the ferry, I took a taxi to Porto Ayora, the main town on Santa Cruz Island.
The Galapagos Islands are in the majestic Pacific Ocean. They are located 500 miles west of Ecuador. There are 18 major and minor islands here. This is a natural wonder. We can study how plants, animals, birds, and geology have changed over thousands of years. I am going to share very interesting things with you. So please listen carefully.
Off course, Charles Darwin comes to mind when we think about these Islands. On September 15, 1835 Darwin first caught the sight of these beautiful islands. He was just 26 years-old. His expedition was part of a voyage around the world on His Majesty’s Ship, the Beagle. He would stay here till October, 20, 1835. The observations he made here played a dominant role in formulating his theory of evolution. Darwin challenged the biblical story of creation recorded in the book of Genesis. People often ask me, ‘Why do you spend so much time in research on Darwinism? Because I think, the question about our origins is the most important question we would ever ask. How did we originate in this world? How did we come to be? The answer to that question influences every other answer we give to every other question we would ever ask. Thats what took me to these islands:the search for our origins.
There are over 35,000 people inhabiting these islands. They love these islands. In the boat station, I saw artists drawing paintings of the birds and animals which live here. They use motor boats for transportation between the islands. They catch and eat fish. No Indian food here, but I was able to manage. They spend their evenings in playing volleyball.
First let us see the geography of these islands: These islands are in the middle of a ocean. It is very deep here. If we see even a small stone in a ocean, we wonder how it got there. Here are 18 islands fully formed and withstanding the thunder of gigantic ocean waves. How did they form?
One afternoon, I went to Los Gemelos on the island of Santa Cruz. They are a pair of volcanic sinkholes. On the walls of these sink holes, I saw gray and black volcanic rocks. They are surrounded by lush green Scalesian forest. Walking around it would unveil a beautiful panorama of geologic and living wonders of our planet.
From Los Gemelos I went to walk in lava tunnels. On the walls of these caves, I saw layers of lava. On the floors of these tunnels, there are huge igneous rocks. Walking over these gigantic rocks was quite a stirring experience for me. There is a portion in the middle where I had to crawl on my hands and knees to get through to the other side. I wondered how these lava tunnels formed on these islands.
Many active volcanoes are present in the Galapagos. The largest island, Isabela has six volcanoes. It is one of the most volcanically active places on earth. So,there are deep volvanic moutains under these islands. When Charles Darwin saw these volcanoes in 1835 he was mesmerized by their geological beauty. We usually connect Darwin to biology but he was also deep into geology.
During these explorations, Darwin was reading a book entitled ‘Principles of Geology’, written by his good friend Charles Lyell, whom we call the father of geology.
Note this point: These volcanic islands are in the middle of a ocean. That itself is a geologic wonder. These islands formed due to a hotspot. What is a hotspot? A hot spot is a place within the mantle where rocks melt and generate magma. This magma is pushed to the surface of the ocean and formed these islands.
Now, let me tell you some thing very interesting thing about oceans. The ocean floor is not one single plate. Itis broken into several plates. Galapagos islands occur at the boundary between two plates: The Cocos Plate and the Nazca Plate. They are subducting beneath Central America and South America. The Cocos Plate and the Nazca Plate are moving away from each other. As the plates move apart, they form a space in between. This space is called Mid-Ocean Ridges. These ridges cover the entire ocean floor. They run through the Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean and the Altantic Ocean. We have a mid-ocean ridge near the Galapagos Islands. The ridge is moving, the plates are moving, and the undersea mountains are moving. So, there is so much geologic activity going on over these islands. That is why there is so much volcanic activity on these islands.
The visitors to these islands mostly run after animals and ocean waves. They ignore the plants and trees. I took time to spend some time around trees. It has a unique landscape. My wife said, ‘it feels like desert and forest meet here’. If you look around Los Gemelos, around the sinkholes you will see a forest of Scalesia trees. They belong to Daisy family or Asteraceae family. Darwin collected specimens of this tree from Santiago Island. The genus Scalesia contains fifteen species, which is unusualbecause tree species are uncommon in Asteraceae. One original species evolved into 15 species here. This is called Adaptive radiation. Please remember that phrase, because throughout this message I am going to focus on that concept.
What is adaptive radiation? It is a process in which one ancestral species diversify into a group of species over many generations. We know about Darwin’s finches, one original species of finches changing into different species of finches. We see the same process in operation in Scalesia trees. One original species changed into fifteen species. That is why they are called, ‘Darwin’s finches of the plant world’.
If you look on my right side, you will see a Manzanilla tree. They look like apple trees. They are called the most dangerous trees in the world. You will see signs hanging on those trees: Do not eat. The locals call them ‘Eve tree’. Their fruits look like little apples. But they contain poison. Even the extract from this plant can cause blisters on our skin. I stayed away from those trees. I only took their photos, and did not mess with them.
On different islands, I saw different varieties of these trees. On San Cristobal Island, I saw many fern plants. There are over 100 fern species in the Galapagos. The ferns are vascular plants, meaning they have specialized tissues that conduct water and nutrients called xylem and phloem. The paleontolists studied the fossils of fern plants. They found out, even on their evolutionary scale, over millions and millions of years, there has not been much change among the ferns. In Darwinian theory, this is called ‘Evolutionary Stasis’.
Another tree which caught my attention was opuntia. This tree belongs to cactus family. How does this tree survive in this hot weather? If you observe them closely, you will see a waxy coating on their surface. They have a shallow root system to help them gather and retain water. This root system help them survive the high temperatures.
In Darwin’s theory, they are called ‘adapations’. We can also see spines which protect them from animals. Darwin spent some time observing these cactus plants and their behavior. He noted that they have thigmotactic anthers. If you touch their anthers, they curl over and deposit their pollen. As I went from island to island, I saw the whole landscapes filled with cactus plants.
First I thought they must be completely useless to human beings. Later I learned that cactus play a very important role in the lives of people who live here and many other countries across Americas. The cactus fruits are edible. They are used to make soups, salads, drinks, beverages and appetizers. The coat of arms of Mexico shows a golden eagle perched upon an Opuntia cactus.
Interestingly, the cactus are mostly limited to the Americas. Here in Galapagos, the South America and North America all the way to Canada. The cacti in Africa, Europe and Asia were transported from Americas by migratory birds and human beings.
In 1839, opuntia was imported into Australia to develop dye industry. Soon it became an invasive species. One plant multiplied into millions of plants encroaching on millions of acres of land. Dr.John Mann worked on the problem and found a moth called Cactoblastis cactorum. Its larvae eat the opuntia. Its introduction in Australia helped to eradicate opuntia on that continent. Nature can produce its own pesticides.
Coming back to Galapagos, the opuntia here is a source of nutrients to birds and tortoises. Going across these islands, I saw giant tortoises. There are 11 species of tortoises on these islands. They eat the opuntia. I saw tortoises of different sizes on different islands. That is adaptive radiation in tortoises. Another interesting thing is, on the islands with tall oputia plants, we see big tortoises and on the islands with small opuntia plants, we see small tortoises. Good food supply means good body size. We observe the same thing in Darwin’s finches. One of the Darwin’s finches, cactus finch live among cactus plants, eating cactus seeds. These finches their beak size, their body size and their numbers change based on the supply of the opuntia seeds. So, we see a beautiful interdependence in the nature.
If you take a look at the cactus fruit, it looks like a pine apple from the sides. We see small buds arranged in rows. We see an order in the trees. This is called Phyllotaxis. They are arranged in Fibonacci sequence. In mathematics, Fibonacci numbers form a sequence. In the sequence, each number is the sum of the two preceding ones.
0,1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21,34,55,89,144 In this sequence, each number is the sum of the two preceding ones.
0+1, you get 1
1+1, you get 2
1+2, you get 3
2+3, you get 5
3+5, you get 8 on and on.
Also, there is also a relationship between the fibonacci sequence and golden ratio. Each successive bud grow out from the centre at a specific angle, 137.5 degrees from the previous one. This helps each bud to have maximum space around them. In mathematics, this is called golden angle. When you see this mathematical order on opuntia, you wonder, is this blind, mindless natural selection in operation or the creative mind of a mathematical genius? So, today we explored the Galapagos Islands. They are a natural and a geologic wonder. They formed by volcanic eruptions emerging from a deep hot spot in the earth’s mantle.
We have seen plants, animals and birds. They have been going through enormous changes. That is real. Adaptive radiation is happening but there is a limit.
We have seen Scalesia trees changing into different species. Yet, they are still scalesia trees.
Manzanillo trees changing into different species. Yet, they are still manzanillo trees.
Ferns are changing into different species. Yet, they are still ferns.
Opuntia is changing into differnt species. Yet, they are still opuntias.
Tortoises are changing into different species. Yet they are still tortoises.
Finches are changing into different species. Ye they are still finches.
Darwin came here in 1835. Almost two hundred years later, these finches are still birds. Darwin closely observed these changes. Then he introduced a very deceptive idea. He said, If you give them more time, they evolve into a completely different, unrelated species: Unicellular organisms become multicellular. Fish become amphibians. Amphibians become reptiles. Dinosaurs become birds. Chimp-like mammals become human beings. There is absolutely no evidence for such changes. That is all fantasy, That is all extrapolation, an idea born out of imagination not based upon on field observations. What we actually observe on these islands support Creation. God created each species with some flexibility to adopt to future circumstances. He wrote their genetic code in order to accommodate them for changing conditions of life.
For richer or poorer. God created that dependence. Adam and Eve. We are so different from Adam and Eve. Yet we are all human beings. Creation Science explains these changes in a much better fashion than Darwinian evolutionary theory. We have talked about hot spots, subduction zones, seafloor plates and mid-ocean ridges. These features of our planet are better explained in a Creationist model based on Flood Geology. During the Global Flood recorded in Genesis 6-8, the earth went through catastrophic changes. It was not just rain from the clouds. Terrifying geological changes happened during and after the Flood.
In Genesis 7:11 we read,
that same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up,
and the windows of heaven were opened.
During the Flood, God opened the fountains of the great deep. God opened the ocean ridges and formed the continents. It is highly likely these Galapagos Islands were formed during the Flood. Ironically, Satan used the same islands to propagate his big lies: Atheism and Darwinism. But we should know better. These islands today, its volcanic caves, its lava stones, its plants and animals stand as a silent testimony to the catastrophic changes happened during the Flood.
We also talked about Fibonacci numbers in Opuntia fruits. Before constructing a building, an engineer first draws a mathematical model. She will decide the location of each object she is going to use in this project. She will decide the angle of each object she is going to use in her construction. We see something similar in nature. God created everything according to a mathematical model. Great renaissance artists used Fibonacci numbers in their art work. Computer scientists today use fibonacci numbers in their software projects.
This is not even modern realization. Thousands of years ago, Aztecs saw golden ratio in the nature around them and they built their temples according based on golden ratio. Fibonacci numbers were used in Sanskrit literature in India. They built temples in India according to golden ratio. They said mathematical design in nature and wanted to worship the Designer. In Europe, Johannes Kepler predicted the existence of these numbers in the flowers and found them. He said because God created the natural world, there must be a mathematical order in the living things. Galileo said,‘Mathematics is the language in which God has written the universe’.
Here in Galapagos, we see that great wisdom of God. This land, its animals, its birds, its fish, its plants, its human beings, all things were created and sustained by our Lord Jesus Christ. Darwinian evolutionists worship the nature. But I worship Jesus who created the nature. During my field research on these islands, every day I took some time to go on my knees and worship our God and Creator, Lord Jesus Christ.
Let us pray.
‘Dear Lord Jesus, as we explore Galapagos Islands,
we see your great wisdom, power and love you displayed in your creation.
Our generation is blinded by Darwin’s big lie of evolution.
We pray you open their eyes.
We pray that you help them see you
as their Creator, Lord and Savior.
In your precious name, we pray. Amen’
Paul Kattupalli MD is a physician and author. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org